Is it better to keep reviewing until everything is out of "Apprentice" or continue with lessons?

As title, I’m fairly new and don’t know what’s better to do, keep doing reviews until all the stuff I currently have is in the “guru” category, or do the new lessons that I have. I’ve been mostly ignoring the lessons to focus on reviews but there’s a few things I’m stuck on, and I was wondering if it would be better if I just started the next set of lessons now?


WaniKani is known to be slow in the beginning, so you should do lessons as soon as you can in order to level up faster. In later levels when you get a lot of reviews you can slow down on the lessons.


A good rule of thumb that a lot of people follow is to not do any more lessons if your apprentice count is 200 or more. As you progress it’ll help make sure you’re not drowning in reviews. It’ll probably be a few levels before this becomes a concern for you, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind. Also, this number can vary - some people make 100 apprentice items their limit, others more than 200 - so just test different amounts out to find what works best for you! At this point, I would say do the lessons when they appear for you, at least for the first few levels as they’re pretty fast.

For reference, here's what I'm sitting at right now - the Guru count is kinda scarily high for me (I'm a bit concerned), but I've found about 180ish Apprentice items is comfortable for me! I won't do more lessons until it dips down to around 160.


alright, thank you

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No problem! Best of luck in learning Japanese! :smile:

Here’s something I’ve been wondering for a while now: How many lessons do you usually do every day, for the apprentice count to be close to 200? I’m doing 15 every day and I admit, I get fairly good accuracy (90 - 95%), but my apprentice count always stays below 80, mostly 70. Even with lower accuracy, like 60 - 80%, e.g., I would have imaged it to be tough to get that many apprentice items. Even though, this seems to be the norm - I’ve read those numbers a bunch of times now. So, I’ve just been curious how many lessons you usually do, or if you took a break or what you think the reason is. Thanks.

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Huh, the highest I’ve ever been in apprentice count is like 130 or something so far. 180 is pretty high up there… guess it’s because of leeches.

You have been given good advice so far, but keep in mind that you should spread lessons more or less uniformly over the days. You may be tempted to do lessons all at once when the apprentice count is low. This is an error. Big batches of lessons will come back as big pile of reviews later. This will cause big spike in your daily lessons workload when you reach higher levels. Spreading lessons at a rate of 15 to 25 per day will prevent this problem.


I honestly think that depends on the person. I prefer to do them all at once so they come back in big batches. If I miss them, that’s not a big deal, it just means I get to see them more times. As you continue, you’ll end up with spikes one way or another, just the nature of the SRS beast. Basically, what it comes down to is personally preference and how you learn best. In my opinion, getting things wrong isn’t a big deal, it just delays how quickly it gets to the level. Speed isn’t the goal for most of us, it’s committing the words to long term memory. I find them more time I get quizzed on them, whether I get them right or wrong, the better. That being said, you don’t want to practice bad habits either, so if your struggling on anything particular, make extra time to study that.

Personally, I think you should keep doing lessons and see what works best within your on life. If you feel like your getting overwhelmed or burned out than slow down, if not, you can keep going.


I would suggest keeping a maximum number of apprentice items between 100-120 as you progress through the levels, and adjust that up or down as you have more or less time to spend on WaniKani. Do you have a time-specific goal that means you need to finish WaniKani in a certain amount of time? If not, take your time. I’m also an advocate of doing a consistent number of lessons each day rather than big batch days, but try out both styles and see what works for you.

Also, welcome to the community!


So I do basically around 20ish lessons a day, with the reorder script to do them in radical->kanji->vocab order. In the beginning it’s common to not have a lot of apprentice items, as you probably don’t have a lot of leeches, but in the future what often happens is an item will come up with the guru 2->master review and you’ll miss it because it’s been so long, which bumps it back down to apprentice 4. So between that and my lessons, what’ll happen is the number creeps up to about 180-200 apprentice items in the beginning of a level then, near the end where I’ve ran out of lessons, it’ll drop to about 150 (I have reasonably good accuracy most of the time, and I use the self-study script sometimes) which puts me in a good place to start the next level. I do try to attempt to keep it in the 160-180 range, but sometimes I just have a review session where I bomb a bunch of long-term reviews (ouch) right after doing lessons and I end up with a pretty high number.

I am trying to go reasonably fast, but yeah if I remember correctly that number will get up there around level 15 or so (they don’t call them the painful levels for nothin’) when those master items start to pile up. Just find your sweet spot in WK pacing and it’ll be fine!

Also, side note about my guru items

That scary guru number is because I just came back from a break to way too many reviews, but I didn’t get back into lessons until the apprentice count was back at my preferred 160 items and my daily review count was manageable again. It was… not fun. So if you’re going to take a break, make sure to turn on vacation mode!


I am experiencing an increasing amount of guru items lately, too. In my case it is mostly due to failed burns, i.e. enlightened items falling back to guru if I don’t remember them after 4 months.

Until a few weeks ago, I tried to keep the apprentice items under 150, and apprentice+guru under 800. Currently I have 111 apprentices and 815 gurus.

For most people the problem is the size of the spikes in daily workload. They can’t stand doing 300 or so reviews on a high day. If you don’t care about that then of course this is not a problem.

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At level 15, I very rarely get more than 200 a day, and never all at once. You won’t be getting them all right all the time, so they will naturally break up. On average I get between 100-200 a day.

Interesting. These are the numbers I see at level 9. Did you see the Enlightened items reviews (for burn) start? I have seen people complaining that the maximum spikes occur when these reviews are starting.

In Anki / AnkiDroid, I actually broke the rules.

I did indeed review until out of Apprentice 3. (One day interval.)

I see. And you’re right, I’ve actually been experiencing an increase in failed guru 2 items over the last couple of levels. So that’s why. Thanks.
About the pace: I actually found mine, I use the reorder-script, too (to stretch out the kanji and vocab lessons over multiple days), and in total it’s always 15 items a day (except on radical day). I’ve now tried stepping my my game up to 12 vocab per day (4 x 3 lessons), instead of ten → 17 items total, instead of 15, but I don’t think it’ll ever get more than that. That way I need 12 days on average for one level, and although 2 or 3 days less would be nice, the amount of daily lessons pretty much hits the sweet spot with me.


You’re more adventurous than I am. lol

I keep Apprentice close to 100 and Guru close to 500-600 after a crash and burn in the 20’s.

I’m at about 10 days per level with 20 lessons per day and no reorder script.

However, I will delay the start of a new level for up to a week if I need to clear out some apprentice stuff.

I’ve found that reinforcing the items that dropped from Enlightened to Guru works better for me when I don’t have lessons that day as well.

I agree with most of what you say, but it isn’t necessarily true that the SRS system has to cause big spikes. If you were to learn one item every single day and hypothecially never get it wrong, that would mean that from the moment you get your first burned review, you’re always getting 7 different items per day to review (or 8 reviews in total). Naturally one doesn’t get everything always right and one also doesn’t just learn one item per day, but that also means, that your daily review count doesn’t spike, but only differs a little every day, as long as you keep the daily number of lessons consistent. So on one day you might have 180 reviews and on another 120, but I wouldn’t call the days with more reviews days where it spiked. There only exists a range dependent on your daily lessons, accuracy and leeches.

I’ve burned about 300, they started a few weeks ago for me. Im not going super fast, about 10-14 days a level, so some people are definitely going much faster. Usually when I start a new level I take a day or two to just do reviews and I’ve found that helps too. When it comes down to it, i think everyone should just try different styles until they find the one that helps them the most. We all want to speak/read Japanese, but we all will get there different ways I think.